Just Trying To Stay Focused…

Long time no speak, people. What can I say? I’ve been busy trying to stay busy. Whether or not that’s a good thing is up for discussion.

The last real article I wrote on here was back in July of 2014. I wrote it on my 50th day at Easy Digital Downloads. A lot has happened since then. I’m more than committed to EDD now. It could have been a temporary thing back when I wrote that article. I’m happy with how things turned out.

There has been one negative side effect to starting work with EDD back in June of 2014, but I have no one to blame but myself. Rather than describe how it has all worked out, let me just give it to you with stats from the last 8 months.

You get the point. Oh… I forgot one statistic.

  • Number of people to blame for the aforementioned numbers: 1

That would be me. I am the only reason for the complete lack of progress with my own personal projects. One of the first things Pippin told me when I started working for EDD was that he did not want anything to get in the way of what I was already doing. In fact, he has even suggested that I take time out of each day to work on my own stuff.

I’m pretty disappointed in myself to be perfectly honest. At this point, I wouldn’t even say that I run my own business. I go days without looking at my own websites. Let’s be real.

Why The Sudden Lack of Passion?

If you’ve been watching me for the last two years or so, you know I pretty much came out of nowhere and started making a name for myself. I haven’t done anything spectacular but it was pretty clear to most that I was a student of the WordPress game and I wasn’t going anywhere.

I have more statistics for you all, though. Some of you will be able to relate. Some of you will be shocked because you don’t really know any better. I’ve been waiting to reveal these numbers… so here they are.

Volatyl Themes (established: March 2013)

  • Total number of sales/downloads from all products (including freebies): 229
  • Total revenue: $4,807.60

Build WordPress Yourself (established: February 2014)

  • Total number of sales/downloads from all products (including freebies): 148
  • Total revenue: $492.80

Again, some of you are not surprised at all right now. You’ve created awesome things before and had first-hand experience with the disconnect between good work and high sales. Likewise, I’m sure some of the less experienced folks are in shock.

The ugly truth is that for two years, I worked day and night on two specific things – freelance work and creating my products. I hated freelancing. I loved creating products. Freelancing paid my bills. Creating products gave me confidence… but no money.

So what does all of this mean?

Well, let’s just put it like this. 35 combined months of product creation on my own produced very similar numbers to 1 month of work with EDD. Whoa.

The statistics I gave you before should make more sense now, right? Here’s the deal, though…

I’m ashamed of that. In fact, I’m a little disgusted with myself. For the last 8 months, money has been my motivator. I’m not a greedy or flashy guy. I don’t live a life of luxury at all. It’s just a very plain and simple reality, I’ve only dedicated time to what put money in my pockets the fastest and I’ve neglected everything else. *shakes head in shame*

What Am I Going To Do About It?

What I’m not going to do about it is a bunch of talking. I’ve already proven to myself that my actions speak much louder than my words, so this article is not my way of saying things are going to change.

Instead, I’m going to let pressure do its thing. I don’t crack under pressure… I never have and I never will. Every once in a while, I find myself in a situation where the only thing that will motivate me is that pressure. Right now, no one is applying it but I feel it coming. It’s part of the reason I’m writing this article. It’s starting to burn a hole in my mind and this is a form of release.

If anyone has any advice, I’d be glad to hear it. Not to come off like motivational poster, but I’m built to do great things… at least that’s how I see myself.

I’m determined to be an irreplaceable part of the EDD team. As of now, I’m not living up to that, regardless of what anyone says. I’m also determined to build my own online empire and leave my mark on WordPress. No one can make that happen but me.

All that said, I have a lot of stuff to do under the EDD umbrella right now. I just wanted to take some time to hit Publish over here, though. Momentum has to start somewhere.

Author: sdavis2702

I'm a simple guy. I like to code and I like to workout. I'm all about growth and just about everything else is nonsense in my book.

11 thoughts on “Just Trying To Stay Focused…”

  1. All of that anxiousness will turn into something great, you were doing everything you were supposed to be doing. Now you have a ton of experience and insights to integrate into your projects. Can’t wait to see what you come up with.

    1. No doubt, man. Can’t wait to dig into my stuff again and apply all I’ve experienced. I wish I could put my finger on exactly what I’ve learned but I can’t. I know it’s there, though.

  2. Thanks for sharing so honestly, Sean. We all do what we feel we need to do to survive in this world. Sometimes that means taking a step back from hustling on our own products/things. Though your numbers from Volatyl and BWY don’t look impressive next to numbers like Pippin’s or someone in that stratosphere, it’s a lot more than 99% of people in the WordPress ecoshpere have made from their products. LIke you said, momentum has to start somewhere.

    1. Thanks for helping me put things in perspective. I remember when I made my first sale online. I was using EDD, actually. It happened while I was asleep and it was only for $29. I thought that was the coolest thing ever. To have earned over $5,000 in revenue now and all of the transactions happening while I was doing something else, that’s still an accomplishment. Very well said.

  3. There is a lot to be said for the amount of motivation, inspiration, and drive that comes from need, want, and pressure. The need to produce in order to pay your rent and put food on the table is an enormous motivator. Take that away and it’s exceptionally easy to let some of the original drive fade away.

    I have a hard time believing there is a single person who has found success that has not also experienced the exact same thing. I can remember a two year period very, very well where I barely had two pennies to my name, yet I still had to provide for myself and my family. That necessity to succeed drove me day and night. It’s what kept me up working until 2, 3, or even 4 in the morning, and it’s what got me up by 7 or 8 the next day. It’s that drive and necessity to succeed which I credit as being largely responsible for getting me to the position I am in today.

    It actually doesn’t surprise me that some of your original drive has faded as some of your financial needs have been lightened. I doubt there are many (if any) that have gone through that transition and have not felt the some changes. I will personally testify to experiencing identical mental challenges with motivation and drive as I became more financially independent. When the number of hours I put into the day stopped having as much of an affect on my ability to pay rent, my motivation and ability to focus went steeply down hill.

    The beautiful thing about it, however, is that it gives you the true opportunity to discover and focus on what you truly love. If that ends up being creating amazing WordPress products and services (as you have already done), magnificent. If it means becoming the best damn racquetball player in Texas, or the US, awesome! If it means working on your own, excellent. If it means being part of a team building great things, superb. Whatever it is, it’s up to you, and that is a beautiful, beautiful opportunity.

    1. I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who has gone through this. I really don’t like the idea of feeling comfortable because I have a little money in my pocket. I know better than that. I guess I’ve just underestimated how much influence the pressure had on my work ethic before I started working for EDD. It all felt so normal… like I was supposed to be working that hard. Now it’s a struggle.

      The reality is I don’t want to choose between creating products on my own, playing racquetball, and being part of the EDD crew. All three of them are literally a dream life for me right now. Creating my own stuff is an amazing feeling. I think everyone knows how I feel about racquetball. And my admiration for EDD was evident long before I ever thought I’d be a crew member. So I’m dedicated to all three for the long haul. Balance is the key, though. And man… that shit is hard to find!

  4. Hey what’s up Sean, long time no see man.

    I’m a bit ashamed that I’m still stuck where I left off about six months ago (IM wise) focusing on blogging, writing, minimalism, learning technical bits about WordPress and still struggling to make a decent amount of money from the Internet.

    With that said though, I landed an offline SEO position at a major e-commerce store and things have changed a lot. I’m not the happiest man on earth right now because now I have to deal with the dreadful work commute, work schedules, deal with assholes and what not but at least I no longer get panic attacks from not being able to pay rent and services on time or something as elementary as being able to put food on the table.

    The struggle is definitely there and it’s very damn real so man, even if you managed to sort out plenty of problems, there may be a ton of newer things to worry about (or in your case) to enjoy!

    To be honest, I wouldn’t worry too much about what you should focus on from now on, I’d say enjoy the ride instead and just follow your gut instincts.

    You have always been a very smart and determined person, with strong beliefs and an insane and genuine inner passion to motivate others and make a change, don’t focus too hard on “being” like that… it’s already in you, that’s why you always excel at whatever you do.

    Feels good to read you again man, hope to see this more frequently (if possible) stay awesome brother.


    1. Hang in there, boss. All of this is definitely a struggle… a lot more for some than others. Glad to hear you got a gig, though. Don’t give up on your online goals. Ultimately, we work for freedom, not money.

      Thanks for always reading. I hope to start writing again more often. I have like 75 different blogs… I could at least update one of them every once in a while. šŸ˜›

  5. Hey Sean,

    I know exactly how you feel. I started at Envato last May and I’ve pretty much stopped coding (and writing) because my job has taken over. I’m determined to put that right this year. I’m off to a slow start, but am more organised than ever, so hopefully will do it. Hope you do too!

    Keep at it! šŸ™‚

    1. Thanks, Stephen! What have you done to become more organized? That’s been one of my biggest issues. And probably once every month, I go to great lengths to figure out what I’m doing wrong. I rearrange or move my home office every couple of months too trying to figure out the best configuration for organization and productivity. It’s tough. I’d love to hear what has made a change for you.

  6. Hi Sean,

    I’ve basically applied a lot of principles used in my day job. It’s far from a finished process, but here’s what I’m trying:

    I have 4 Trello boards: Products, Content, Websites and Projects, where I organise everything I want to do. The stuff that is most urgent (or I most want to do) get moved over to a central sprint board. And I run weekly sprints where I assign about 10 hours worth of work each week (which is about all I can manage with job and family). Here’s a screenshot as an example.

    There’s probably stuff in there I can explain if you want. Like using the Scrum for Trello Chrome extension so I can enter time like “(1) [.5]” in the title and have it add up (time allocated / time used). And using checklists so it’s easy to see when something’s done. And I have a template list on the right for creating the next sprint list. And I move finished sprint lists to another board so I have a history, including what I didn’t get done.

    Anyway, that’s what I’m trying in terms of organising and doing the work. I also need something to keep me accountable so I summarise each sprint on completion in Google docs, like in this screenshot. Sort a like the Fitness Challenge spreadsheet but just for me… (now there’s an idea!).

    As you can see I’m off to a slow start, but it feels like I’m getting closer to hitting my stride… It adds a lot of overhead in terms of managing all this stuff, but my old way of doing what I felt like when I felt like meant I wasn’t really getting anything worthwhile done!

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